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his fpoufe, and all the angels of heaven miniftring fpirits DIE fuch. That is the leveath confolation.
VIIL. Confolation. And then, 8thly, The opening of sty! heart to Chrift brings thee not only into paion with his perioa, . but into a state of sweet, soal-enriching communion with his So he speaketh in the text, “If any man open the door, l a e sop with him, and be with me." Poor foul, thou kalt lives many years in the world, and never badit any communion wicb God till this day. Christ and thy foul have been strangers sit now. It is true, thou hast bad communion with ordinances and communion with saints, but for communion with Chrift thou couldeft koow nothing of it, till thou receivedit him into! thy fool by faith. Now thou mayst say, “ Truly my fellow" Thip is with the Father, and with his Son Jelas Chrift, 1 Joho i. 3.
And thenceforth thy communion with men is pleasant and defirable.
IX. Confolation. The opering of a man's foul to Chrift by faith is a special and peculiar mercy, which falls to the thare but of a very few. God hath dope that for thee which he bath denied to millioas; “ Who hath believed our report? and to
whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? " i. c. to how small a remnant in the world, Ifa. liv. I. And the apostle pats the work of faith among the great mysteries of godliness, among the wonders of religion, i Tim. ii. 16. “ Preached unto the “ Geotiles, believed on in the world."
The found of the gospel is gode forth into the world; «Maoy * are called, but few are chosen. There were many widows * in Israel, in the days of Elias, but to none of them was Elias “ fest, fave unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that " was a widow,” Luke iv, 25, 26. To allude to this, there were many hundreds that fat under the same fermed which opened thy heart to Christ, but it may be uoto Done of them was the Spirit of God feor that day, to open their hearts by faith, but unto thee; thou wilt freely ackoowledge thyself as unlikely and unworthy as the vileft figner there. O astonishing mercy!
X. Confolation. Aod then lastly, In the fame day thy heart opens by faith to Christ, all the treasures of Christ are unlocked and opened to thee. In the same hour God turns the key of regeneration to open thy soul; the key of free grace is also turned to open unto thee the unsearchable riches of Christ; then the righteoufaefs of Christ becomes thine to justify thee, the wildum of Christ to guide thee, the holiaess of Christ to
fanctify thee; in a word, he is that day made of God to thee, " Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," i Cor i. 30. “ All is yours, for ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's," i Cor: iii. ult. And thus I have thewed you some of those great thiogs God doth for those fouls that will but do this one thing for him, viz. open their hearts to receive Christ upon the tenders and terms of the gospel.
. 5 E R M O N IV. Rev. iii. 20. Behold 1 [land) at the door and knock, &c. THE verb ise here rendered 1 Aand, is of the preter tense,
and would striAly be rendered I have food, but being joined with a verb of the present tense, is here rendered Į do Aand, a frequent Hebraifm in fcripture : And it notes the continued patience and long-suffering of Christ; I have food and Still do stand, exercising wonderful patience towards obstinate finners. Which gives us this fourth obfervation..
Doct. 4. That great and admirable is the patience of Christ, ... in waiting upon trifling and obftinate finners. · Thus wisdom, i. e. Chrilt expresses hina self, Prov. i. 24.“ I * have called and ye refused; I have stretched out, my hand, s and no man regarded.” Here you have not only Christ's earnest calls, but suitable gestures also, to gain attention. The stretching out of the hand was a sigoal given to procure attention, Alts xxi. 40. Yet none regards; and this the Lord doch not once or twice, but all the day loog, Ifa. lxv. 2. Thewe ing forth all long-suffering, as the apostle speaks, 1 Tim. i. 16. lo the opening of this poiot I will hew you,
1. What divine patience is. . 2. Whereio it is evidenced.
3. Why it is exercised towards finners. Pirst, Of the nature of divine patience; it is an ability in God not only to delay the execution of his wrath for a time towards fome, but to delay it in order to the eternal salvation of others. Let me speak to the parts of this description of divine patience..
1. It is an ability of power in God, not the effect of impo. tence, or want of opportunity : All fianers are continually within tke reach of the arm of his justice, and he can Itrike
when, and where he will. Efau had a revengeful mind against Jacob, but wanted opportunity, aod therefore was forced to delay the execution of his conceived wrath, until the days for mourpiog for his father were come; and then faith he, “ I will “ nay my brother Jacob," Gen. xxvii. 41. But in God it is a glorious effect of power, Nah. i. 3. “ The Lord is flow to an“ ger, and great in power."
The greatoefs of his patience flows from the greatness of his power : So the apostle speaks, Rom. ix. 22. is What, if “ God willing to thew his wrath, and to make his power koowo, “ endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath, fitted,
or made up to destruction ? " " And therefore when Mofes prays for the exercise of divide patieoce towards the provoking Israelites, he doth it in this form, Numb. xiv. 17, 18.“ And “ now I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, ac“ cording as thou haft spoken, faying, the Lord is long-fuffer. “ing," doc. He could exercise this Almighty power upon thee, apd crush thee by it as a moth is crushed; but behold he exercises it upon himself, in stopping the propenfiods of his owa justice, which daily follicit him to cut thee off; it is the power of God over his wrath, bridling and restraining it from day to day.
2. This patience is exercised toward fuch as perish, in a temporary delay of their damnation; and though this be bot a merę suspension of his wrath for a time, yet it is a glorious act of patience in him; as that forecited text, Rom. ix. 22. Thews. Is it nothing for a loner condemned as soon as bord, to be reprieved fo many years out of hell? Thou hast beca provoking him daily, and hourly, to cut thee off, and feod thee to thy own place; and yet to be on this side the everlasting burnings, this is wholly owing to the riches of his forbearance. Ah, how is God to be admired in this his glorious power over his own wrath! when we look abroad into the world, and see every where fingers ripe for destruction, daring the God of hea. ven to his face, yet-forborn, how admirable is this power of God!
3. God doth not only exercise this power in a temporary suspension of his wrath against some, who, alas, must feel it at last; but he delays the execution of his wrath in a design of mercy towards others, that they may never feel it, Isa. xlviii. 8, 9. Thus he bears with his own elect, all the years
went on in a course of rebellion against God; aod this longsuffering of God towards them proves their salvation, as you
have it in 2 Pet. iii. 15." And account that the long-suffering 56 of our Lord is salvation.” What is the meaning of that? Ah, Christian, thou mayest easily know the meaning of it, without turning over many commentaries; thou art now in Christ, fafely escaped out of the danger of wrath to come; but thou owest this thy falvation to the patience and long-suffering of God towards thee. For what if he had cur thee off in the days of thy ignorance and rebellion against him (and thou knowest thou didst give him millions of provocations fo to do) where hadst thou now been? Thou hadlt never seen Christ, nor the lealt dawning hope of salvation by him. Remember how oft you lay in those days upon bed's of sickness upon the brink of the grave; what was it that saved thee from eternal wrath, but this admirable patience of Christ? Well, therefore, may the apostle say, “ Account the long-suffering of God to be falvation.".
This patience of God seems to be a branch springing out of his mercy and goodness; only it differs from mercy in this, that man as miserable is the object of mercy, but man as criminal is the object of patience. Thus briefly of the nature of divine patience, a power of God over his own wrath, not only to sufpead it for a time towards them that perish, but to delay the execution of it in a design of salvation towards others.
Secondly, Next we come to Mew the various evidences of this divine patience, or wherein it appears in its glorious maaifeftations towards provoking finners; and there are seven full evidences and discoveries of it, which should make the hearts of finners melt within them, whilst they are founding in their ears. Ah, methioks, such things as these should melt down your hard
hearts before the Lord ! -' 1. And the first evidence of the riches of his patience shall
be taken from the multitude of sios that men and women are guilty of before him, the least of which is a burden too heavy for any creature to bear; the Psalmist faith, Psal. xl. 12.“ Io"oumerable evils have compassed me about.” It was true, as applied to the person of David; and though it be there applied to the person of Christ, yet not one of them were his owa sios, but ours; called his, by God's reckoning or imputing them to him. Men can number vast sums, millions of millions, but no man can number his own fins, they pass all account. There is not a member of the body, though never so small, but hath been the ioftrument of indumerable evils. For instance, the tongue, the apostle tells us, is a world of iniquity, Jam. ïii. 6. And if there be a world of fin in one member, what then aie. the lips of all? How many idle, frothy, vain words, hath thy
tongue åttered? And yet for them, Christ faith, “Men shall “ give an account in the day of judgment,” Mat. xii. 36. And what have the lips of thy thoughts been ? " The thoughts of “ foolishness is fin," (saith Solomon,) Prov. xxiv. 9. O, who can understand his errors? Yet the patieace of God hath not failed under such innumerable evils. O glorious patience! well may it be ulhered in the text with a term of admiration, Bebold, I Aand!
2. The second evidence of the divine patience shall be taken from the heidous dature of some fios above others, whereby fiaDers Ay, as it were, in the very face of God; and yet he bears with long-suffering, lets got loose his hands to cut them off. All fios are not of one size; fome have a Nighter tincture, and some are deeper ; called upon that account scarlet and crimson Lins, Ifa. i. 18. double dyed abominations, fios ia graie ; such are fins against knowledge, fios committed after convictions, and covegaots, and rebukes of providence. I do not only speak of outward gross acts of fin; for as the school-men well determine, though outward fias are sins of greater iofamy, get inward fios may be sids of greater. guilt : even those fins that never took air to defame thee in the world: but whatever they be (reader) whether outward, or inward, thy conscience is privy to them, and thy foul may stand amazed at the patience of God, in forbearing thee all this while, voder such provocations, and horrid rebellioos against him ; especially, considering how many there be this day ia hell that ocver provoked God by fioning with foch an high hand as thou hast done.
3. It is yet a greater evidence of the patieace of God, in bearing with, and forbearing us under the guilt of that special fin, viz. The fighting and neglecting of Jesus Chrift: here is a fio that goes to the very heart of Jesus Christ; he can bear any other Gio rather than that; and get this hath Christ bora from every soul of you. You are the men and women that have spurned at the yearoing bowels of his mercies, sighted his grace, trampled his precious blood under fuot, and yet he hath forbora you unto this day; read Mat. xxii. 5. and let thy conscience aoswer, whether thou art not equally deep in the guilt of making light of Christ with those wretches upon whom it is there charged. Christ hath fuffered the wrath of God in thy room, brought home salvation, in gospel-offers, to thy door and then to be fighted! 00 patience but his own could bear it. Every sermon and prayer you have fat under with a dead heart; every motion of his Spirit which you have quenched, what is this but the wakiog light of Christ, and the great falvation !